I work for the DoD and when the Department of Homeland Security was established,we helped them with many things, not the least of which was contracting. To make a long story short, you cannot juice up a government agency's budget by tens of billions (or in the case of the stimulus package, hundreds of billions) and expect them to be able to process the paperwork to contract it out, much less oversee the projects or even choose them with any kind of hope for success. It's like trying to feed a Pomeranian a 25 lb turkey. It's madness.
It was years before DHS got the situation under control and between the start and when they finally assembled a sufficiently capable team of lawyers, contracting officials, technical experts and resource managers, most of the money was totally wasted. Now take the DHS situation and multiply it by 20 and you've got the Obama stimulus package. Even if they hand the money to existing governmental agencies, the situation will be the same. Those existing agencies are working full time administering the budgets they have. They can't just add a zero at the end of each contract and be done with it.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
More on Why the Stimulus Will Be A Mess
Harvard Economist Greg Mankiw posted a letter from a reader of his blog today. The reader is a government administrator who worked on the initial setup of the Department of Homeland Security. Here are some of his words:
Labels: Keynesian Stimulus